Man gets 60-year sentence in molestation of 5-year-old

A Pearl River man pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexual battery of a 5-year-old girl and received a 60-year sentence from a state district judge, a spokeswoman for 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery said.

Darryl Solomon, 38, was seen taking his hands out of the girl’s pants in September 2013, Lisa Frazier Page said. The witness immediately confronted Solomon and told the girl’s parents, Page said.

The girl said Solomon had molested her several times, Page said.

Solomon fled to Virginia, where he eventually was caught.

Woman dies in Thursday crash in St. Charles Parish

A Des Allemands woman died Thursday morning when her car was hit near Paradis by a driver who Louisiana State Police suspect was drunk.

Darlene Cortez, 39, was driving east on Old Spanish Trail in her 2006 Hyundai and Robin Gassenberger Jr., 37, also of Des Allemands, was driving west in a 2000 Chevy Tracker. Shortly before 7 a.m., Gassenberger swerved for unknown reasons and crossed into the other lane, hitting Cortez’s car near White Lane, State Police said.

The impact caused the Hyundai to rotate and drive into a ditch; Cortez died at the scene.

Gassenberger was transported to Interim LSU Hospital with severe injuries.

Impairment is suspected for Gassenberger, State Police said. Cortez was wearing a seat belt, but Gassenberger was not.

No one injured when train hits car at railroad crossing

An Amtrak train hit a car at a Slidell railroad crossing Wednesday night, but the two occupants of the car were not injured, police said.

The driver of the car, who was not identified, said she panicked when the crossing arms began to lower and the lights began to flash as she approached the crossing at Front and Lafayette streets about 8 p.m., according to Detective Daniel Seuzeneau, of the Slidell Police Department.

She drove off the side of the road, causing the car to become lodged on the tracks. The southbound train hit the rear bumper, causing minimal damage, Seuzeneau said.

Both the woman and the other occupant of the car walked away, as did a family pet that was inside the car.

Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith said the pair were extremely lucky.

No citations were issued.

Body pulled from river in St. John the Baptist Parish

St. John the Baptist Parish authorities pulled a decomposing body from the Mississippi River near the LaPlace anchorage on Thursday afternoon.

Sheriff Mike Tregre said the body, which was spotted about 3 p.m. by a ship’s crew member, was so badly decomposed he could not determine if it was a man or a woman. “It was bad,” he said.

It took authorities about two hours to fish the body from the river, as swift currents made it difficult to get a grip on it, Tregre said.

An autopsy is pending to try to determine the cause of death and the person’s identity.

2 shootings reported overnight in New Orleans

There were two shootings in New Orleans on Wednesday night and early Thursday, police said.

The first shooting occurred about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 7th Ward. Two male teenagers were walking in the 2400 block of North Miro Street when an unidentified person started shooting, they told police. The victims, ages 13 and 15, suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

The second shooting happened a few hours later in the Lower 9th Ward, according to police. About 3:20 a.m., a 25-year-old man was shot several times through the door of a home in the 1300 block of Jourdan Avenue.

Suspects arrested in two unrelated stabbings

Two stabbing incidents were reported Wednesday in New Orleans. Suspects in both attacks were arrested, police said.

Melinda Powell, 20, stabbed a 21-year-old man about 7 a.m. in the 13000 block of Chef Menteur Highway, police said.

About 11:30 p.m., Tyrone Jackson, 60, stabbed a 30-year-old man with whom he had been arguing earlier in the day, police said. This incident occurred in the 700 block of Howard Avenue, near Lee Circle.